Regional School Unit 10 Director Bonnie Child of Mexico, third from left, speaks at Monday night’s board meeting at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford. From left are Directors Dan Hodge of Rumford, Janet Brennick of Mexico, Child, Bill Hobson of Rumford, Justeen LaPointe of Roxbury, Administrative Assistant Peggy Therriault, Superintendent Deb Alden and Chairman Greg Buccina of Rumford. Also attending, but not pictured, were Gail Parent of Hanover, Abby Rice of Rumford, Peter DeFilipp of Mexico, Jerry Wiley of Buckfield and Michelle Casey of Buckfield. Chad Culleton of Hartford and Jennifer Adams of Sumner attended online. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — The Regional School Unit 10 Board of Directors on Monday approved a concept design for a prekindergarten-to-grade-eight school to be built in Mexico.

The cost is “somewhere around … $94 million” and will be paid for by the state, Mark Lee of Harriman Associates architectural firm in Auburn told directors Monday. Local taxpayer costs for the building, including permitting, are estimated at $3,000, he said.

Lee and Lisa Sawin of Harriman Associates gave an overview of the building’s design and said it would replace Meroby Elementary and Mountain Valley Middle schools and be in the same area. Meroby is at 21 Cross St.; the middle school at 58 Highland Terrace.

The design includes one-, two- and three-story sections with a center section for a library, gymnasium, cafeteria and possibly a music area, Lisa Sawin said.

The timeline for the project is a building concept approval by the state Board of Dducation on April 13, substantial completion of the building by July 2025 and occupancy by August 2025.

A straw poll to gauge the district residents’ approval will be held at 5:30 p.m. March 14 at Mountain Valley High School cafeteria in Rumford.


The board approved a draft of two referendum questions for voters to consider at a June 14 referendum. The first asks to approve a new school and the second asks to include a fitness room for an estimated $1.2 million. The fitness room would be used by the school and the community and paid for with grants and community fundraising.

RSU 10 includes Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury, Hanover, Buckfield, Hartford and Sumner.

In other business, directors voted 9-4 to make masks optional in schools starting April 1, if updated information from the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention and the Department of Education recommends it March 31.

RSU 10 has required universal masking for students and staff in its buildings this school year and directors have voted regularly on the policy.

In favor of the April 1 date, contingent of DOE and CDC recommendations, were Gail Parent of Hanover; Abbey Rice, Dan Hodge and Greg Buccina, all of Rumford; Janet Brennick, Bonnie Child and Peter DeFilipp, all of Mexico; Jerry Wiley of Buckfield; and Chad Culleton of Hartford.

Voting against were Justeen LaPointe of Roxbury, Michelle Casey of Buckfield, Bill Hobson of Rumford and Jenifer Adams of Sumner.


“Although I do not believe in these things — they don’t work, the CDC says there is variable effectiveness —  so I say if we believe in them then everybody should be wearing an N95. And we have some,” Casey said.

Assistant Superintendent Leanne Condon said the federal CDC, as of Feb. 25, no longer recommends universal indoor masking in K-12 schools and in early education settings in areas for low or moderate COVID-19 transmission levels.

District nurse Lee Berry said she has concerns about taking the masks off now. She noted the district has followed Maine’s Department of Education standard operating procedure and recommendations mask-wearing.

“And the state of Maine has a lot of transmission and particularly Oxford County has a great deal of transmission going on,” Berry said. “And I don’t think that we’re ready to take off the masks just yet.”

As of Wednesday, the entire state has a high level of COVID-19 community transmission, according to the website.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.